Titanic sets off on its doomed voyage: Newly-discovered picture taken by amateur photographer, 15, shows gleaming liner leaving Southampton on fateful journey
- 15-year-old Elliot Brown took image of doomed liner leaving Southampton
- His picture of vessel is one of last ever pictures of Titanic taken from land
The 'Unsinkable Ship' setting sail for her fateful maiden voyage a century ago is an image those who waved her off will never forget.
But while the enduring memory of the Titanic is of the famous liner sinking into the North Atlantic, one man captured a rare snapshot of the moment she set off on her one and only journey.
Sailing smoothly through the waves just off Southampton, this 100-year-old photograph shows the doomed boat taking to the icy seas on April 10th, 1912.
It was captured by then 15-year-old Elliot Brown, who used the picturesque scene of his uncle's sea-facing back garden on the Isle of Wight to photograph the giant vessel as it loomed into view off the south coast.
The young Mr Brown, a keen amateur photographer, took a picture and stowed the image away into his album along with pictures of his friends and family, unaware of just how significant his quickly-taken photograph would later become.
When disaster struck and the 882ft Titanic plunged into the North Atlantic Ocean four days after Mr Brown's picture, the teenager knew he had captured an iconic moment, but nonetheless opted to keep his memento safe in the family album.
THE CAMERA WHICH MADE PHOTOGRAPHY POPULAR
The 'brownie' series of cameras used by Mr Brown for his Titanic picture were introduced around 1900 and helped popularise photography at the turn of the century.
A precursor to the modern disposable camera, early versions consisted simply of a cardboard box with a meniscus lens inside.
Although other kinds of box cameras existed at the time and continued to be produced for decades, the most successful model initially was the 'Brownie' made by Eastman Kodak Co.
Named after 'The Brownies' comic strips, their makers marketed the camera with the slogan, 'You push the button, we do the rest'.
When his second wife Faith was moved into an old people's home, however, his children began clearing possessions from Elliot and Faith's bungalow in Galmpton, Devon.
It was then they came across the album and its rare contents belonging to their father, who died in 1967 aged 70.
Had they not saved the rare image in the album, the momentous picture could have been lost forever.
Mr Brown's son Bruce found the picture, which had a noticeable fold down the middle and was stuck in the album with a handwritten caption: 'RMS 'Titanic': Maiden Voyage'.
Bruce has since had the iconic photograph digitally restored in time for the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's sinking, but still plans to keep the picture in the family.
The 77-year-old retired meetings manager, from Henley-on-Thames, said: 'When I was in my mid-20s he happened to tell me in passing that he had taken a picture of the Titanic as she came out of Southampton water.
'I remember it stuck in my mind when he told me at the time, and it has been a subject which has fascinated a lot of people ever since.
'He realised how significant a picture it was some time later, but decided to keep it in his album.
'Like everyone else the Titanic had a big impact on him and he was shocked by what happened.
'My father was quite a religious man and was quite moved by the fact that the band on the Titanic apparently played 'Abide With Me' before it went down.'
Describing the moment he found the photo his father had told him abou
t decades earlier, grandfather Bruce added: 'It was a split second decision whether to keep the album as it was his and I didn't know anyone else in the pictures, but I'm not glad I did.'
'When people find pictures like this one it is often a journey of discovery, and this image is no different.'
Bruce Brown revealed that he discovered the photo album in his late father's home in Devon in around 1985, but kept hold of it since then and has only recently had it digitally restored.
Numerous events have also taken place in the lead up to the 100th anniversary of its sinking.
The Belfast shipyard where the Titanic was built has been revitalised in time for the landmark date, while an eye-catching, dockside centre opened just weeks before the 100th anniversary of the ship's sinking.